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Simul Healthc. 2010 Feb;5(1):28-32. doi: 10.1097/SIH.0b013e3181a3dfbe.

Residents' attitudes about the introduction of a surgical skills simulation laboratory.

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  • 1University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.



As surgical education programs develop surgical skills laboratories, it will be important to do so in the most efficient, cost-effective manner.


We distributed a brief written survey to all general surgery residents at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics regarding their perceptions of the usefulness of a surgical skills laboratory in training of both open and laparoscopic techniques. For the initial survey, we used analysis of variance to compare differences across groups. This was followed by a second survey to post-graduate year (PGY)-1 and PGY-2 residents assessing their knowledge, perceived skill, and rank preference of surgical skill sessions.


We received 100% responses rate from both surveys. Respondents to the first survey represented all levels of residency (PGY1-PGY5), and the number of respondents per level ranged from 4 to six. Although there was general agreement that surgical skills laboratories were beneficial for both open and laparoscopic procedures and for all levels of training, there was more support for using them to prepare junior residents. In addition, they were seen as especially beneficial for teaching about laparoscopic techniques. Junior residents did not think that residents should be required to demonstrate mastery in the skills laboratory before being allowed to operate, whereas senior residents were neutral about such requirements. A follow-up survey targeted junior level residents (PGY-1 and 2) to assess their perceived skill for various techniques, and their interest in improving skills through simulation. Results showed that perceived skill differed between the two groups, as did attitudes about the priority for different skills.


As residency programs implement surgical skills laboratories, understanding local opinions about the potential benefits and sequencing may help to design the laboratories for maximal educational benefit.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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